Galicia remains one of the hidden gems of Spain. Galician tourism is becoming an important factor to the economy. The Spanish know all about it, and they love to come here on their holidays. The population that lives in what is known as the interior particularly relish Galicia. Much of Spain, particularly the central and southern parts are arid and dry. And in the summer can be quite unbearable, as temperatures hit 40 Celsius. Thus Galicia, with its coast, mountains, and unlimited greenery is very appealing for anybody thinking of cycling tours in Spain.
Due to its history, Galicia has experienced a lot of emigration in the last 75 years. However, like salmon, these displaced Gallegos love to come home for their holidays, providing a boost for Galician tourism. In July and August, Galicia seems to fill up with Swiss registered cars. Switzerland was the favourite European destination for Galician emigres over the last 50 years. Its political neutrality being very popular. South America too, particularly Uruguay and Mexico have a large Gallego population. In August, successful Mexican businessman with Gallego roots flock to Galicia, leaving their private planes at Vigo airport. They create a tourist attraction, as small crowds gather to watch them arrive. They bring their big fancy cars in transport planes, and head to Avión, where they have huge summer houses. The fiesta in Avión is a lavish affair, paid for by the emigres, and full of Mexican culture.
In northern Portugal, we see the same summer influx of emigres, but this time from France. Portugal until the early 70´s was a military dictatorship under Salazar, and many fled. Portugal has a long history of furniture, clothes and shoe manufacture. These skills were taken abroad by the emigres and found a willing home in France. And these people flood back to their routes in July and August, boosting Galician tourism and the local economy. These ex-pat Portuguese also have a huge affinity to Galicia, due to the historical cultural ties. Also, the beach lovers prefer Galicia. The coastal geography presents much better beaches, warmer water, and less dangerous. This appeals greatly to those with younger families.
In the last 10 years, Galician tourism has seen an upturn, including those with no roots in the region. The Camino de Santiago is more popular every year, and visits by the Vuelta de España have also boosted tourism. Galicia remains however unspoilt by tourism. The “ley de la costa”, which prevents development on the coastline has prevented huge hotels going up. Galicians value their land, and its outstanding beauty. That will never be sacrificed, and thus Galicia will always keep its natural charm. Come and see for yourself. You will fall in love with it.